Interestingly enough, Magen Broshi, who has also excavated at Qumran and who supports the Essene theory, tells us that “the site lacks…good clay.” Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, s.v. “Qumran.”
By contrast, Magen Broshi argues that 10 of the 16 water installations at the site are mikva’ot. “These ritual baths,” he says, “are perhaps the most important elements identifying the compound as a religious institution.” Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, s.v. “Qumran.” Yet he concedes that six of the water installations, among them the largest, are not ritual immersion pools.
De Vaux dated the famous round cistern to the Iron Age. On this, Magen disagrees.
In “The Early History of the Qumran Community,” in David Noel Freedman and Jonas C. Greenfield, eds., New Directions in Biblical Archaeology (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971), p. 77.
In “The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Essenes or Sadducees,” in Hershel Shanks, ed., Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Random House, 1992), p. 57.